Pythia: Prediction of AI-Human Merger as a Best Possible Future

PYTHIA, the women who served as the Prophetess of Delphi for a thousand years, were the most powerful women of the ancient world. They succeeded for so long due to their learned, sage advice and very strong organization of well-educated advisors. Pythia is the inspiration for this two-minute video, which presents a positive vision of the future of AI. The modern-day Pythia depicted here prophesies a world where Man and Machine merge into a new type of hybrid entity; a world where some brave heroes become one with super-intelligent AI. Perhaps these brave men and women of the future will then become like the great Pythias of the ancient world?

A modern-day Pythia emerges from a black hole to predict the future of generative AI. Video by Ralph

I am no Pythia, far from it, but the video predictions should provide some solace to those who fear AI. The work on AI cannot be stopped, as most Cassandras naively hope. Still, the development of AI must be guided. Like many others I see the safest way to do that is to merge with AI, to use AI to enhance natural human abilities. Together, a powerful hybrid force for good may arise, going beyond even the profound affects of the great Pythias. See eg., Shi F, Zhou F, Liu H, et al. Survey and Tutorial on Hybrid Human-Artificial Intelligence (Tsinghua Science and Technology, 2023); Neuralink Corp. (founded in 2016 by Elon Musk to develop implantable brain–computer interfaces).

See Circuits in Session for more crystal ball predictions based on too much free time study and experiments with GPT4. Image by Ralph

Pythia was the title given to the woman in charge of the Oracle services of the temple for Apollo at Delphi. It was a position of great power in the ancient world, handed down from woman to woman. All were groomed and highly educated for that role. It reminds me of the Dalai Lama position, but the Pythia was always a woman, and never claimed to be a god. They were the voice of enlightenment.

Oracle of Delphi painting by John Collier, 1891.

Pythia guided the fate of leaders across Greece and all of the near east. Her slogan was “Know Thyself.” One of the most famous sayings attributed to her is: “Socrates is the wisest man of all and he knows nothing.” She loved being deep and enigmatic like that.

Here is an interesting trivia note: the word “consultants” is derived from the name of the people who came to the Pythia for advice and then went back to share it with others. Another interesting fact, Plutarch (AD 46 – after AD 119) was among the many male priests who served Pythia near the end of her long reign and one of few writers who dared to mention her. Most of the knowledge and predictive techniques of the Pythians were kept confidential. They had very strong NDAs back then, with “penalty of death” type sworn clauses much frowned on today. But even the great Plutarch did not say too much about her. He was, after all, also the local judge of Delphi who later became an ambassador and citizen of Rome. One of Plutarch’s many surviving writings is of interest to me lately, Whether an Old Man Should Engage in Public Affairs (short answer – yes).

Unconfirmed rumors through the ages suggest that many of the Pythias used powerful drugs to enter trance-like states to channel the wise words of Apollo. More recent investigations have shown the presence of ethylene gas at the Apollo temple where Pythia worked. It is known to have mild hallucinogenic, trance-inducing affects, somewhat like ketamine. J. Hale and J. Chanton. The geological origins of the oracle at Delphi, Greece (Geology, 2000); E. Icaza, M.D.; G. Mashour, M.D., Ph.D, Altered States: Psychedelics and Anesthetics (Anesthesiology, 12/13). Also see: Michael Scott, Delphi: A History of the Center of the Ancient World (2014).

Pythia image by Ralph based on Collier’s Painting

No hallucinogenic vapors for me! My inspiration, modest as it is, arises from coffee, study and AI experiments. Of course, if I should merge with AI someday, hopefully without brain surgery, my predictions might then be worthy of an ancient Pythian. No doubt many consultants would then zoom up to my august presence for advice. In the meantime, I’m easily reached by email or you can leave a comment on my blog.

Ralph Losey Copyright 2023 — ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

2 Responses to Pythia: Prediction of AI-Human Merger as a Best Possible Future

  1. […] Article Link: Pythia: Prediction of AI-Human Merger as a Best Possible Future | e-Discovery Team […]

  2. Ralph Losey says:

    I was able to prompt the new GPT4 to chat about the underlying meaning of the Pythia, including the fact that they are named after the dragon or snake that used to guard the sacred Delphi site.

    Begin quote of ChatGPT4:

    Mythological Background: According to Greek mythology, Delphi was originally sacred to Gaia, the ancient Earth Mother, and was guarded by her child, Python, a great serpent or dragon. The site was a center for Gaia’s matriarchal cult, which conducted rituals and worship centered around the earth and its cycles. Apollo, a deity from the Olympian pantheon representing a range of attributes including light, reason, harmony, and order, is said to have slain Python, claiming the sanctuary for himself. This act symbolized the transition from the old chthonic religions, with their earth deities and feminine orientation, to the new Olympian order that was patriarchal in nature.

    Esoteric Occult Perspective: From an esoteric occult viewpoint, the slaying of Python by Apollo can be seen as a metaphor for the shift in human consciousness from the intuitive, cyclical, and nature-oriented ways of understanding the world to the rational, linear, and structured. Apollo’s victory represents the ascendancy of the solar principle—associated with the conscious, logical, and ordered—over the lunar principle, which is connected with the unconscious, intuitive, and chaotic. However, the fact that Apollo’s oracle, the Pythia, was a woman suggests a synthesis and continuity rather than a complete eradication of the feminine principle. It signifies an underlying acknowledgment that access to the divine wisdom (a function associated with the feminine) remained essential, even within a patriarchal framework. The name “Pythia” could be seen as an homage to the slain Python, indicating that the wisdom of the earth and the feminine could not be completely suppressed; rather, it was subsumed within the new order.

    Contemporary Feminist Political Explanation: From a contemporary feminist perspective, the narrative can be interpreted as a political allegory of patriarchal appropriation of female power. The replacement of Gaia’s cult by Apollo’s cult might be viewed as a symbolic representation of the suppression of female authority and the establishment of a male-dominated social order. Apollo’s act of slaying Python represents the subjugation of the feminine and the imposition of a patriarchal system that seeks to control the sources of feminine power. The Pythia’s role can then be seen as a concession within this new order, allowing for a limited and controlled expression of female spiritual authority that is nevertheless subject to male interpretation and authority (as the priests of Apollo would interpret her prophecies). The Pythia’s power is significant, yet it operates within the confines of a patriarchal structure.

    Synthesis of Perspectives: Both perspectives acknowledge the transformation from matriarchal to patriarchal systems and the inherent tension in maintaining a vestige of feminine authority. Esoterically, the Python represents the earth wisdom that must be integrated into the new order, suggesting that true wisdom comes from the balance of masculine and feminine principles. Politically, the myth echoes the historical patterns of patriarchy, where female power is both feared and revered, leading to its restriction and regulation. The endurance of the Pythia’s role as a female oracle within the patriarchal cult of Apollo can be seen as a testament to the resilience and adaptability of feminine power even in the face of systemic suppression.

    This synthesis suggests that the Delphic myth encapsulates a deeper truth about the human experience: the struggle for balance between different forms of knowledge, power, and gender dynamics. It invites reflection on the ways in which these forces have shaped our cultural, spiritual, and political landscapes throughout history and continue to do so today.

    End quote of ChatGPT4

    For me the Pythia are a good symbol of women regaining their power and equality, and ending the thousands of years of unfair patriarchal dominance, near slavery, of most women. IW – the Pythia is a symbol of woman’s liberation and a symbol of a holistic balance of men and women, both physical and mental.

    The qualities of reason are symbolized by Apollo. When this is balanced with earth, with Gaia, our human bodies, then super-human prophetic oracles of the Pythia become possible. Uniting Humans with AI could open humanity to a new era of wise, far-seeing Pythias of all sexes.

    In the context of the AI-Human hybrid, Apollo obviously represents the AI, pure reason, whereas Gaia represents the uniquely human capacities, intuition, feeling and sensual awareness. A balanced body-mind connection should bring about a new type of human, with balanced male and female energies. The super intelligence of AI should temper and balance out any negative human animal instincts and other base human qualities. The light of Apollo should balance the dark of Gaia. Conversely, the uniquely human intelligence should keep the pure reason of AI grounded. Should give the AI feelings, sensitivity and intuition. It will allow the AI to expand and include new dimensions inherent in body awareness.

    That’s the idea behind Hybrid intelligence, to find the right balance to make possible new types of hybrid Human-AI entities. People still, but much more powerful. They would seem as if gods to humans of only a hundred years ago.

    I see this as a possible course, the best one that my limited, mere coffee-infused human capacities can now see, to save the world from humans. It should also save the world from AI only destruction. The two sides need each other for a positive synergy, a positive feedback loop to run and counteract the natural dynamics of entropy, of chaos. From the evidence my studies to date, this appears to be a species survival imperative. So yes, when the time is right, assuming I live long enough, I would take this first step into the unknown. I would merge with AI to allow a possible rebirth as a 21st Century Pythia.

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